A VIEW OF RACIAL DIVERSITY FROM THE U.S. and ITALY—The photo at left shows the Rev. Dr. France A. Davis, pastor emeritus of Utah’s largest predominantly black church. As a young man, Dr. Davis marched twice with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Davis also has played a major role in groundbreaking relations with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which dominates life in Utah. Recently, two founding members of the International Association of Religion Journalists were involved in lifting up Dr. Davis’s prophetic voice to a global audience. In 2020, regular readers of the IARJ website will be able to enjoy occasional columns featuring stories that connect religion writers on different continents.
How can religions, media, international organizations and human rights advocates work together to address religious persecution? The IARJ’s Elisa Di Benedetto reports on the involvement of IARJ founding members at a gathering of more than 100 delegates from nearly 50 countries for the 26th Annual Law and Religion Symposium under the theme: Human Dignity and Religious Freedom at Brigham Young University.
Many researchers were startled by new reports that the Western trend toward secularism is also crossing the U.S., generation by generation. Dr. Jörg Stolz—professor of sociology of religion at the University of Lausanne and the current president of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion—reports on these findings and also raises questions for further study.
In Part 2 of a Global:Plus report on anti-Semitism, Pedro Brieger looks at the rise in the Americas. He writes, “To combat anti-Semitism, we must both recognize its historical roots and the various contemporary political, social and religious factors that play a part in its revival. It is a challenge for all of us.”
In a series of profiles of the IARJ’s Regional Representatives, Peggy Fletcher Stack (our representative for the United States) describes the importance of this specialty in journalism and shares links to some of her own recent news stories. Reporting on religion “touches all the important topics—values, ethics, communities, rituals, philosophical underpinnings, politics, meaning. It has some of the most compelling narratives as well as the richest ironies and an extraordinary cast of characters.”